January transfer window ins and out at Norwich

Posted by Paddy Davitt

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Whom should Norwich bring in during the January transfer window, and whom should they ship out?

Norwich City's ongoing injury problems to key midfielders is set to be the focus of Chris Hughton's transfer strategy. Hughton resisted the urge to act in the closing days of the summer window after Elliott Bennett suffered knee ligament damage in the Premier League opener against Everton that ruled him out until February or March.

Australian international James Troisi and West Ham’s Ricardo Vaz Te were both considered as viable loan recruits before Hughton opted not to bolster his squad.

Hughton has since lost Anthony Pilkington (hamstring), who is not expected to return until mid-January, along with central midfielder Alex Tettey, who is on the comeback trail following ankle surgery. Add a back injury to the influential Jonny Howson, which ruled him out of the festive period, and injury-related absences this season for Scottish international midfielder Robert Snodgrass, and Hughton has been forced to place his faith in youth to plug the shortfall with teenagers Nathan Redmond and Josh Murphy, both now regular members of his first team squad.

Everton's John Heitinga and Ghana international Sammy Inkoom have been linked with potential Carrow Road moves, which hints at another area of Hughton’s squad that looks vulnerable with Sebastien Bassong, Michael Turner and Ryan Bennett the only senior centre backs available on the club’s books.

Luciano Becchio's rather public outburst in November when he was critical regarding a lack of first-team opportunities since his January 2012 move from Leeds United is an issue set to be revisited in this January window. Middlesbrough were desperate to offer Becchio a Championship escape route in the summer, while former club Leeds and Huddersfield have also been mooted as potential destinations.

Early-season injuries to expensively acquired strikers Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper ensured Becchio was always going to remain at Carrow Road for the foreseeable future. But with both back in the fold and Johan Elmander seemingly ahead of the Argentine in the pecking order, expect no shortage of interest in a man who was a prolific scorer at Elland Road.

Dutch international midfielder Leroy Fer's instant impact since his summer move from FC Twente has seen the 23-year-old linked to Arsenal and Newcastle, but Hughton reiterated recently City are only interested in building not dismantling the Norwich squad. To that end, the rush of key performers signing new improved deals to stay at Carrow Road over recent months has underlined the point. However, Pilkington’s situation is worth monitoring. Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa -- the manager originally brought him to Norwich from Huddersfield -- have been touted with a £3 million move for the Republic of Ireland international who is yet to follow suit in pledging his future to the Canaries.


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